Business Times (Malaysia Finance/Economy News)

Tuesday, August 06, 2013, 12.53 AM
Updated: 37 weeks 2 days ago

Fajar Baru submits plans for condo projects

Wed, 13.Jun.2012 - 12:23am
KUALA LUMPUR: Fajar Baru Builder Group Bhd is believed to have submitted plans to the local authorities in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur in a move to venture into the property development sector, people familiar with the matter said yesterday. It is understood that the construction company had submitted the plans over the past three months to build residential condominium units in Puchong and Jalan Ipoh. A company official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the matter, but noted that the company has yet to receive the full suite of approvals yet. "We are targeting for a launch in the early part of next year," said the official. Fajar Baru, which has about some RM1 billion worth of ongoing construction jobs at hand, bought the land in Puchong for about RM39.94 million late last year. It also bought 0.92ha land in the Jalan Ipoh-Sentul area last year for RM23.6 million. The land is said to be a gold mine as it is one of the nearest entry point to the city. "The land in that area should easily fetch more than RM500 per sq ft," said the source. RHB Research recently noted that for the year ending June 2012, Fajar Baru had secured five key contracts, boosting its year-to-date new contracts to RM668 million from RM368 million and outstanding order book by 46 per cent to RM925 million from RM625 million. "... We gathered from Fajar Baru during a recent visit that it expects to put onto the market by the first quarter of next year a high-rise serviced apartment project in the Sentul/Jalan Ipoh area," RHB Research said in a report last month. Business Times was told that the high-rise project in Jalan Ipoh will have a gross development value of about RM280 million. For the year ended June 30 2011, Fajar Baru registered a net profit of RM13.6 million, but Kenanga Research expects its profit to rise to RM15.8 million this year and RM27.1 million by 2013. The research house has an outperform call on the stock with a RM1.27 target price.

MRT receives three bids to supply rolling stocks

Wed, 13.Jun.2012 - 12:15am
KUALA LUMPUR: Mass Rapid Transit Corporation (MRT Corp) has received bids from three companies to supply rolling stocks for the 51km Sg Buloh-Kajang line, worth about RM1.6 billion. Chief executive officer Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid said the companies were Changchun Railways Vehicle Co Ltd, Siemens SMH Rail Consortium and CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co Ltd. Kawasaki Heavy Industries Rolling Stock Co and Bombardier Transportation did not submit any bids, while Hyundai Rotem Company pulled out from the tender. "The bids will now be assessed in a four-stage process as we announced last week. We expect to award the tender by end-July," he said in a statement. Last week, MRT Corp disclosed a stringent and comprehensive evaluation process for the rolling stock tenders. Azhar said the company was also considering the possibility of standardising the rolling stocks for future MRT projects in the Klang Valley. "Familiarity with the system, planning for stocks of spare parts and equipment and inter-usability with other lines are among the benefits of using the same rolling stocks across all MRT lines in Kuala Lumpur. "We will seriously look into this if and when we are mandated with delivering future lines," he said. Meanwhile, three other tenders were also closed yesterday, namely depot equipment and maintenance vehicles, platform screen doors, and signalling and train systems. Bernama

'Local workers won't resort to unethical tactics for promotion'

Tue, 12.Jun.2012 - 7:40am
KUALA LUMPUR: Ninety-two per cent of Malaysian workers will not engage in unethical behaviour to advance their career. According to a survey conducted by JobStreet, the other eight per cent may consider using unethical or immoral tactics to boost their chances of getting a promotion. The survey quizzed 515 people in Malaysia. A majority of 68 per cent also believed that it is unethical to present a project to the upper management without informing or reporting to their immediate superior. Twenty-four per cent of those quizzed said that they would not do so for fear that they will be despised by their colleagues and bosses. Meanwhile, a small percentage of eight per cent said they would because they could increase their value in the company and get a promotion or if the superior does not find out. However, when it comes to promotion, more than half (59 per cent) felt that it is alright to keep details in secret about a promotion from other colleagues to avoid competing for the position. When it comes to the question whether they would cover up mistakes made at work, a total of 62 per cent answered that they would not. Interestingly, 25 per cent said they would cover up if they woud not get caught and another 13 per cent said they would.

April industrial output up

Tue, 12.Jun.2012 - 2:38am
MALAYSIA'S industrial output rose 3.2 per cent faster than expected in April. The Statistics Department said yesterday that the industrial production index (IPI)'s growth was due to the increase in manufacturing and electricity indices of 5.7 per cent and 3.4 per cent, respectively. The mining index, however, decreased by 3.6 per cent. The manufacturing output in the month under review registered a growth of 5.7 per cent as major sub-sectors reported rises in petroleum, chemical, rubber and plastic products (10.4 per cent) and transport equipment and other manufactures (12.2 per cent). On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, the IPI contracted by 1.7 per cent due to the reduction in manufacturing index (2.2 per cent) and electricity index (0.9 per cent), while the mining index rose by 0.2 per cent. Credit Suisse economist Santitarn Sathirathai, however, said it is too early to celebrate April's upside surprise although the improvement in the industrial production will help limit the downside risk to year-on-year growth in the second quarter. "While the year-on-year growth of industrial production improved, we estimated that the print implies a -1.3 per cent seasonally adjusted month-on-month change." Assuming that the seasonally adjusted IPI stays at the April level in May and June, industrial production would have contracted two per cent in sequential terms in the second quarter. Santitarn commented that although domestic demand strength will partly offset the weakness in exports, the recent decline in palm oil prices and political uncertainty as the expected election draws nearer will cap the upside to domestic demand growth. "This means that sequential GDP growth in the second quarter is likely to be significantly weaker than in the first quarter." However, Bank Negara Malaysia will not need to be a in hurry to cut the policy rate under the current eurozone scenario, he added. Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector posted a 5.3 per cent growth in April to record RM52.4 billion sales, which was led by building and repair of ships (68.4 per cent) and manufacture of refined petroleum products (11.8 per cent).

Daibochi upbeat on regional prospects

Tue, 12.Jun.2012 - 2:37am
KUALA LUMPUR: Daibochi Plastic and Packaging Industry Bhd, a flexible packaging solutions provider, is positive of tapping into the regional food and beverage (FandB) market. Daibochi managing director Thomas Lim said in recent months, it had more visits and requests for quotations from non-Asian multinational corporations (MNCs) as the continent typically enjoys a lower cost of production. "Recently, Daibochi was invited to participate in the global food safety panel of a leading MNC customer, placing us in the forefront of the latest sector updates and development in food safety management and regulations. "Daibochi is the only Southeast Asian participant in the panel, reflecting its reputation in the region," he said in a statement. Lim said Daibochi had developed a track record in meeting stringent food safety requirements of regional MNC customers, and this resulted in the FandB sector being its stronghold customer segment. He also said that the company had initial success in securing business from the new sectors. "Since the first quarter of this year, Daibochi has commenced supply of medical glove packaging, albeit on a small scale. At the same time, we are also undergoing continual testing and certification for our electronics packaging overseas," he said. Daibochi provides flexible packaging to globally-renowned multinational clients in the FandB and fast-moving consumer goods sectors, including Nestle, Kraft and PepsiCo. At the end of trading on Bursa Malaysia yesterday, Daibochi shares closed three sen higher to RM2.86.

MAHB eyes foreign projects

Tue, 12.Jun.2012 - 2:35am
BEIJING: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is looking to bid for new airport projects in Indonesia, China, and the Philippines, its managing director (MD) said yesterday. "We are in initial discussion with them ... (to bid for) maybe one airport in each country," its MD Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad said on the sidelines of an International Air Transport Association (IATA) airline conference. Bashir said the company was not looking to exit a consortium led by India's GMR Infrastructure that operates New Delhi airport, even after Germany's Fraport, another partner in the group, said last week it was shutting down its Indian operations as a result of a lack of opportunities. Reuters

Halal product exports expected to grow 6pc

Tue, 12.Jun.2012 - 2:35am
MALAYSIA'S exports of halal products are expected to grow by six per cent this year, from RM35.4 billion in 2010. International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said growth will continue to be led by food products while pharmaceutical and cosmetic products are showing good prospects. He noted that with 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide, the demand for halal products and services is huge and Malaysian players must equip themselves properly to meet this demand. "Last year, our export of halal products totalled RM35.4 billion, contributing to five per cent of total exports. Although Malaysia is already a significant exporter of halal products, I think we can do much more to meet this growing demand." Mustapa was speaking at a press conference after launching the RM2 million Global Halal Support Centre (GHSC) called GHSC One-Touch Point at Bandar Utama here yesterday. The centre offers wide-ranging services for those in the halal industry, both established and aspiring. The services included, among others, application processing and advisory services, conference and exhibition services. "At this centre, one can obtain immediate verification of the halal status of products and the location of halal premises," said Mustapa, adding that various tools have been developed to help consumers access information. One of them is HDC iKiosk, a user-friendly terminal located at public areas to help the public to check the status of halal products. It was noted that last year, more than 140,000 people made use of this facility. As for businesses, Mustapa said, a B2B portal has been created to bring buyers and sellers together. He said the portal currently has a base of 13 million visitors from 100 countries and future enhancement of the portal will focus on integrating it with smart TV to provide online shopping capabilities via cable TV network. The government will continue to support the growth and development of the halal industry, he said. "It is estimated that about 230,000 people are employed in the halal industry while the HDC Training Programme has trained more than 35,000 workers to meet the demand for workers," he said. "With Malaysia being the base of halal business, the government welcomes foreign firms interested in the halal industry to relocate their research and development business here."

New players to boost growth

Tue, 12.Jun.2012 - 1:48am
KUALA LUMPUR: Local family takaful net contributions are expected to jump 70 per cent to RM7.2 billion in the next two to three years following the entry of four new players. Etiqa Insurance and Takaful chief commercial officer Shahril Azuar Jimin said the current contributions stand at RM4.2 billion from 12 takaful players. "I would be very surprised if we don't actually expand by another RM3 billion for family takaful alone in the next two years," he told reporters at The World Takaful Conference here yesterday. Shahril said with more operators, the total number of agency force in the takaful market would also increase to spur distribution of Islamic insurance products. Currently, there are 100,000 takaful agents and this is expected to increase in the coming years as players reach a bigger customer base at lower management costs. A Bank Negara Malaysia report noted that the local takaful industry posted a compounded average growth rate of 27 per cent a year in terms of net premium contributions, with family takaful policies leading the way. Family takaful grew 28 per cent annually over the last six years and now represents over 80 per cent of Malaysia's total takaful market. Shahril said there is room to expand the takaful market here as the penetration rate is still a low at 11 per cent compared to 43 per cent in the conventional insurance market. Historically, bankatakaful was the main distribution channel for takaful business. However, in recent years, agency-based distribution had been fast gaining ground. Meanwhile, Shahril said Etiqa Takaful Bhd is intensifying its focus on its agency force to help widen its reach and bolster its position as the takaful market leader in Malaysia. "The agency contributes 39 per cent of the total gross contributions of Etiqa's family takaful business and is indeed one of the key channels for Etiqa as the takaful business is still about personalised services to the customers," he said.

Global takaful mart set to hit US$4.3b in five years

Tue, 12.Jun.2012 - 1:47am
THE global takaful market could reach US$4.3 billion (RM13.6 billion) in the next five years spurred by the strong growth in family takaful, an industry official said. Shahril Azuar Jimin, chief commercial officer of Etiqa Insurance and Takaful Bhd, also said the global family takaful gross contributions are estimated to be US$1.7 billion (RM5.38 billion) this year. This will account for 20 per cent of the total global takaful gross written premiums, Shahril said the big growth in the family takaful segment, especially in Malaysia, outpaces that of both general takaful and conventional life insurance market. From 2007 till 2011, net contribution for family takaful increased at a compounded annual growth rate of 20 per cent, outpacing general takaful business. Given the large untapped market with only 54 per cent of the population having a life insurance or family takaful policy, there is significant room for growth in Malaysia, he said. "With stiff competition among takaful players placing pressure on profitability, the family takaful segment can be seen as a long term sustainable proposition with strong bottom-line returns," he told delegates at the 3rd Annual World Takaful Conference here yesterday. With growing awareness and increasing demand for savings and investment-driven products in Malaysia, family takaful products have a significant opportunity to translate this positive trend into an impetus for ongoing strong growth. Assessing the progress of the international takaful industry, Sohail Jaffer, partner and head of International business development at FWU International, said: "Malaysia continues its leadership position in the family takaful market with the family takaful segment holding around 73 per cent of the total takaful market share whereas in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) it is only about five per cent. "Though increased awareness of the need for financial protection and economic growth resulting in more affluent customers with high disposable income act as drivers of family takaful growth, challenges such as lack of product innovation, shortage of takaful expertise and lack of customer education need to be overcome in order to realise the full growth potential of the industry." Meanwhile, David McLean, chief executive of the World Takaful Conference, said the strong growth momentum of the local takaful market is expected to continue. This will be underpinned by the rising affluence of Malaysia amid strong economic fundamentals. Given the large untapped market, he said the takaful industry in Malaysia is poised for further growth. However, to ensure this, it is essential to build a pool of skilled, talented and knowledgeable workers. The conference is a two-day event with more than 500 takaful operators and agents engaging in discussions on how to capitalise on the growth potential for the family takaful industry in Malaysia It also discussed key strategies for positioning and supporting family takaful as the key growth engine for the takaful industry in Malaysia.

Gas Malaysia debuts with 22-sen premium

Tue, 12.Jun.2012 - 1:46am
KUALA LUMPUR: Gas Malaysia Bhd, the country's sole natural gas supplier to the non-power sector, made a 22-sen premium on its Bursa Malaysia's Main Market debut yesterday. Under its initial public offering (IPO), Gas Malaysia sold shares to institutional and retail investors at RM2.20 each. "I think this reflects the confidence the investors have in us in terms of our business model. I am quite happy with that," Gas Malaysia chairman Datuk Hamzah Bakar told reporters after its listing ceremony here yesterday. As at 9.06am yesterday, the stock hit RM2.50 and was at a high of RM2.52 before sliding to a low of RM2.39. By midday, its share price maintained at RM2.45 level. It closed the day 22 sen higher to RM2.42 with 87.13 million shares traded. Based on the RM2.20 per offer price, Gas Malaysia's market capitalisation upon listing is about RM2.82 billion. On its expansion plan, Gas Malaysia managing director Datuk Muhammad Noor Hamid said the new contract signed with Petronas recently means that the company will have a committed supply of 110 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) of gas up to 2015. This is on top of the original volume of 382 mmscfd of gas. "That represents 29 per cent increase in gas volume. In the last few years, our expansion was constrained by the lack of supply. That constraint has now been removed following the new contract," he said. The company hopes to start discussion with Petronas on the supply from the latter's second liquefied natural gas (LNG) re-gasification facility in Pengerang, Johor, which is expected to start operation by 2016. Gas Malaysia has budgeted a capital expenditure of RM140 million this year, and RM40 million annually in the next two years for its expansion plan, including the development of infrastructure. "We are spending a lot this year as we want to complete our facilities early as once the LNG import terminal in Malacca is made available to us by January next year, we will be able to supply gas immediately to our customers," Muhammad Noor said. By Kamarul Yunus

Petronas in long-term deal with Norway's Statoil

Tue, 12.Jun.2012 - 1:46am
KUALA LUMPUR: Statoil, a Norwegian oil and gas company, has signed its first long-term deal with Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas). Statoil will supply some one billion cubic metres of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for Petronas' re-gasification facilities in Sungai Udang, Malacca. The deal was inked a day after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak launched the re-gasification facility. It was signed last Tuesday during the five-day World Gas Conference, which ended on Friday. In a statement posted on its website last Friday, Statoil said the LNG will be delivered under the flexible agreement that runs for three and a half years. Statoil executive vice-president for manufacturing, marketing and renewable energy, Eldar Satre, said Statoil has had good cooperation with Petronas for years. He added that the company is "very excited" to land its first Asian LNG supply agreement with Petronas. Malaysia has traditionally been a major exporter of LNG with long-term sales to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. However, increased domestic demand has led to the construction of Malaysia's first LNG import terminal in Malacca. Under the deal, Statoil will deliver the first cargo in August this year. The one billion cubic metres of gas volume is equivalent to the annual consumption of two 400-megawatt power plants. "There is an increased demand for LNG in Asia and we want to position Statoil to take part in that growth," Statoil senior vice-president for natural gas Ruje Bjornson said. The Sungai Udang re-gasification terminal has a full capacity to produce 3.8 million tonnes per annum, or 530 million standard cubic feet of gas per day. The terminal comprises the world's first-of-its-kind re-gasification unit on an island jetty, two floating storage units and 3km subsea pipeline connecting to a new 30km onshore pipeline that links to Petronas Gas Bhd's existing peninsular gas utilisation pipeline network. The two floating storage units, formerly Tenaga-class LNG tankers owned by Petronas' shipping arm, MISC Bhd, will berth at the island jetty. They have been designed to be berthed for at least 20 years without the need to dry docking. By Kamarul Yunus

AHG to assemble medical equipment for hospitals

Tue, 12.Jun.2012 - 1:45am
ANTAH HealthCare Group (AHG), which turns 50 this year, will diversify into the business of assembling medical equipment for hospitals. These medical equipment - like operating tables and operating lights - will be locally assembled and then certified as "Made in Malaysia". "We will be the CKD (completely knocked down) equivalent for medical equipment," Antah (International) HealthCare Group's chief executive officer Datuk Ralph Yapp said. AHG is a distributor of pharmaceutical products and medical equipment. It also services medical equipment and hospital lifts. The group currently commands 85 per cent of the domestic market for operating tables and operating lights. AHG predominantly markets the Eschmann brand operating theatre equipment. "We thought, if we can disassemble, why can't we also assemble," its executive chairman Tunku Naquiyuddin Tuanku Ja'afar said. "By doing this, we now have the 'Buatan Malaysia' licence which accords the company with pioneer status," Tunku Naquiyuddin told Business Times in an interview recently. He added that government hospitals are encouraged to buy "Made in Malaysia" products and this will help sales. Meanwhile, AHG expects revenue to grow by a quarter during the current financial year, ending June 30, to RM150 million from RM120 million achieved last year. "This will be another record year for us. Year-on-year, AHG has been growing at between 10 and 20 per cent," Yapp said. He said that profit has also grown in tandem with revenue. In terms of turnover, Antah Pharma Sdn Bhd ranks 9th in Malaysia, among 23 other pharmaceutical companies. It is even ahead of several multinational corporations. Antah Pharma also takes pride in being the only Malaysian-controlled pharmaceutical marketing and distribution company, which are among the top 20 pharmaceutical companies. This was revealed in the Pharmaceutical Association of Malaysia's survey in March this year. AHG's history can be traced back to the early 1960s when Edward Ivor Parrish started the medical supply business selling surgical instrument and stethoscopes. This company was later acquired by the Jardine Matheson Group. Then in 1977, Antah Holdings Bhd bought the controlling stake in medical supply business from Jardine and changed its name to Antah Sri Radin Sdn Bhd. Besides Antah Pharma, which distributes and markets ethical drugs, generic drugs and over-the-counter products, AHG group also has a unit called Bumimedic (M) Sdn Bhd and Antah Lifesciences Laboratories Sdn Bhd.

MAS in code-share pact with JAL

Tue, 12.Jun.2012 - 1:44am
MALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) is targeting to complete code-sharing arrangements with four more oneworld member airlines, a day after announcing the signing of similar agreement with another member of the global alliance, Japan Airlines (JAL). To date, MAS has signed 23 code-sharing agreements with various airlines and is looking at signing more as a strategy to extend its reach without having to mount its own flights. The national carrier is now in discussion to have code-sharing arrangement with oneworld members, namely American Airlines, British Airways, Qantas and Finnair. "Discussion with Finland's Finnair is closing and the code-sharing agreement may be concluded by year-end," MAS senior vice-president of international affairs Germal Singh Khera told Malaysian reporters here. MAS announced the agreement with JAL at a press conference held on the sidelines of the two-day International Air Transport Association (IATA) annual general meeting, which started here yesterday. A code-share agreement is an aviation business arrangement where two or more airlines share the same flight. A seat can be purchased on one airline but is actually operated by a cooperating airline under a different flight number or code. Under the code-share, which will commence on July 1, JAL will begin marketing MAS flights between Malaysia and Japan, as well as five other domestic points and seven regional destinations such as Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai. Conversely, MAS will place its flight indicator MH on JAL-operated flights connecting Tokyo (Narita) and Fukuoka, Nagoya and Sapporo in Japan, as well as to nine international cities including Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, Guam, Honolulu and across the Pacific to Boston, Chicago and New York. Covering up to 347 weekly flights of 51 sectors, the selling of the MAS-JAL code-share service will begin today. The code-share on the Malaysia-Japan trunk route covers MAS' 11 times weekly Kuala Lumpur-Tokyo return flights and the six times weekly Kuala Lumpur-Osaka return flights as well as JAL's daily Tokyo-Kuala Lumpur return flights. "The code-share between Malaysia and Japan will offer the travelling public in both countries more choices of flight. It will offer flexibility to passengers as under the code-share, the frequency of flights is effectively increased," Germal said. MAS head of commercial Dr Hugh Dunleavy, who represented the national carrier in exchanging aircraft models with JAL's chairman Masaru Onishi as a symbolic gesture of the code-share, said it is on track to become a full member of oneworld by year-end. "As much as we want to sign code-share agreements with more oneworld members, our focus now is to ensure that we become a full member of the alliance by year-end," he said. Meanwhile, in a statement released here, MAS group chief executive officer (CEO) Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said the partnership with JAL provides the national carrier the opportunity to expand its reach without having to mount its own flights to cities in Japan and beyond in North Asia and the US. "This code-share is expected to greatly contribute towards increased tourist arrivals into Malaysia. As one of the most affordable tourist destinations in the Asia Pacific region, we are confident that more tourists from other parts of Japan will take the opportunity to use this code-share and visit Malaysia." Earlier, when opening the meeting, IATA director- general and Tony Tyler said the global airline industry profits for 2012 are projected to be US$3 billion (RM9.5 billion), unchanged from the last update in March. While the recent fall in oil prices, stronger-than-expected growth in passenger traffic and a bottoming out of the freight market are driving improvements in the outlook, these are being offset by the deepening European sovereign debt crisis, he said.

TSI Group's wholesale hub on track for RM1b revenue

Tue, 12.Jun.2012 - 1:42am
KLANG: TSI Group's wholesale hub in Klang, called GM Klang Wholesale City, is on track to become Southeast Asia's largest wholesale centre and make over RM1 billion in revenue yearly. TSI group managing director Datuk Lim Seng Kok said the wholesale city is the first of its kind in the country. "Once fully completed, the RM2 billion project will boast more than 3,000 wholesalers spread over four blocks, with a gross floor area of over two million sq ft, with plans to add a business hotel, conference centre and a busines matching centre," Lim said in his speech here yesterday after a new tenancy agreement. He said GM Klang can meet the need for a wholesale hub in the country and the region as well as bolster halal product activities as it has a dedicated halal hub. Located near various ports in Klang, it serves the needs of many Southeast Asian companies, Asian nations and become an international gateway for trade. The privately-held TSI held a tenancy agreement with 200 new tenants as well as signed a memorandum of understanding with two Chinese partners. Phase one began operations in October 2009 with 90,000 sq ft of lettable space, housing 330 wholesalers of small merchandise from apparels to information technology (IT) products. Phase two, known as GM Klang Blok A, is expected to be completed and begin operations in October this year. It will boast 750 wholesalers and various food and beverage outlets in 10-storey blocks, offering products such as apparels, textiles, bags, timepieces, footwear, spectacles, cosme-tics, stationeries, toys, gifts, and electrical and electronic products. Meanwhile, TSI also signed MOUs with Xia Bao Wen of SM International Wholesale (China) Centre, Adam Tan of Pearl Harbour Industry and Alex Li Shang Xin. All the parties will assist in overseas product sourcing and marketing efforts as well as highlight relevant manufacturers and businesses in China who might benefit from GM Klang and bring their products into the country. This is in line with China's government economic objective of expanding business out of China. Established in 1987, TSI has over 40 subsidiaries, associates and joint ventures locally as well as overseas. It first ventured into property in 1999 and has undertaken over 3,000 units of various types of property valued at about RM1 billion.

Bursa raps Inter-Pacific Securities trader

Tue, 12.Jun.2012 - 1:34am
KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia Bhd has publicly reprimanded, imposed a fine of RM10,000 and suspended Peer Mohd Abdul Aleez for three months as a dealer's representative with Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd. This was for engaging in false trading activities involving the securities of Excel Force MSC Bhd and LNG Resources Bhd, Bursa said. Peer Mohd is also required to undergo training on the conduct of a dealer's representative and market offences. Bursa said that it will not tolerate any actions which could lead to false trading or manipulative activities.

Malaysia top Islamic finance hub: Banker

Tue, 12.Jun.2012 - 1:26am
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is currently the best Islamic finance hub as it offers all the required facilities, one of Asia's top banker Tan Sri Azman Hashim said. These include research, training and the laws, said Azman, who is chairman of AmBank Group. He said with more Islamic finance centres in the world, the better it is for the advancement of global Islamic finance sector. "This would further promote Islamic finance in the world, against conventional finance," he told reporters after the signing ceremony of a memorandum of agreement between Open University Malaysia (OUM) and Islamic Banking and Finance Institute of Malaysia (IBFIM). Azman is also OUM pro-chancellor. OUM president and vice chancellor Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Anuwar Ali said the five-year collaboration, amounting to RM5 million, includes the development and implementation of the information technology (IT) infrastructure for the first fully computerised Takaful Basic Exam (TBE) for takaful agents. "We will assist IBFIM in the design, development, maintaining the TBE Management System, as well as developing the e-learning materials for the programme," he said. IBFIM chief executive officer Datuk Dr Adnan Alias said as of April this year, 2,544 takaful agents have taken the computerised TBE in 20 OUM examination centres nationwide. "We are catering for a wide market. There are now 75,000 takaful agents in the country and we have also received requests from other countries to bring such examinations to their shores soon," he said.

MAHB's Faizal Mansor bags Best CFO award

Tue, 12.Jun.2012 - 1:25am
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) chief financial officer (CFO) Faizal Mansor has won the Best CFO for Investor Relations (IR) - mid-cap category in the Second Annual Malaysian Investor Relations Association (Mira) awards ceremony recently. MAHB corporate finance and business advisory senior manager Vinie Chong Pui Ling, meanwhile, was at the fourth place for the Best IR Professional (mid-cap category). MAHB was also nominated in four other categories - Best Company for Investor Relations, Main Marketmid-cap (6th place), Best IR Website Main Market-mid Cap (3rd place), Most Improved Service from IR Team (7th place) and Quality One-on-One Meetings (7th place). Organised by Mira, the award gives recognition to individuals and companies that have successfully embraced best IR practices. Winners were chosen based on surveys extended to over 800 fund management and equity research professionals globally.

Ananda Krishnan picks CIMB to advise on Astro IPO

Tue, 12.Jun.2012 - 1:24am
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian tycoon Ananda Krishnan has mandated CIMB Investment Bank to advise him on the initial public offering (IPO) of Astro All Asia Networks plc in a deal expected to raise around US$1 billion (RM3.17 billion), in the fourth quarter, a source with direct knowledge of the deal said yesterday. The IPO plan by Ananda, Malaysia's second-richest man, comes on the heels of a US$2.8 billion sale of his power assets and proposal to hive off a stake in his satellite operator Measat Global in March. The listing of pay-TV firm Astro will consist only its domestic operation rather than a combination of both the domestic and overseas operations, said the source, who declined to be named as the talks are private. "Other banks haven't come on board yet," the source said. "And the listing won't happen that early, likely to be around the fourth quarter of this year." Astro officials declined to comment when contacted. The IPO could well become the third largest in Malaysia this year after palm oil giant Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd's US$3.4 billion deal and IHH Healthcare Bhd's US$2 billion planned flotation. Malaysia's IPO market has defied a trend in other financial markets such as Singapore, where motor racing firm Formula One decided to postpone its near US$3 billion IPO due to volatile markets. Shares of Gas Malaysia Bhd rose as much as 15 per cent in their debut trading yesterday after a US$230 million listing, overcoming negative sentiment surrounding a slump in global market flotations. CIMB led Astro's delisting in 2010, in a deal that valued it at around US$2.8 billion. The investment bank also handled its original IPO in 2003, along with Goldman Sachs, DBS and UBS. Reuters

UEM Land plans Johor resort

Tue, 12.Jun.2012 - 1:24am
UEM Land Holdings Bhd has bought nearly RM500 million worth of land to develop a high-end residential resort in Desaru, Johor. It expects to rake in RM5.4 billion gross development value from the project, UEM Land said in a filing to Bursa Malaysia. The company yesterday announced that it had bought 25 parcels of land measuring 271.48 hectares for RM485.3 million. The proposed development entails residential components, comprising bungalows, semi-detached houses, link houses, townhouses and service apartments/condominiums as well as a beach club. The development will be surrounded by two 27-hole and 18-hole golf courses. The project, in collaboration with Desaru Development Holdings One Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Desaru Development Corp Sdn Bhd (DDC) is expected to start by 2013 with completion of the final phase within 20 years. UEM Land said it was invited to participate in the Desaru development by DDC, the master planner of Desaru due to its expertise in high-end residential development, such as East Ledang and Horizon Hills, a golf residential development in Nusajaya, as well as high-rise developments in Mont Kiara, Klang Valley. Desaru is expected to be earmarked as the leisure and tourism region for Johor, offering an integrated resort lifestyle experience with world-class leisure and tourism accommodation, entertainment and attraction. Such development of Desaru as an international tourist destination will be spearheaded by Khazanah Nasional Bhd (via DDC). UEM Land said the proposal is in line with the group's continuous effort in sourcing new landbank and property development opportunities to improve and sustain its long-term earnings growth. The proposal will also allow it to diversify its development portfolio and due to the scale of the landbank, it will have the flexibility to conceptualise, design and develop a residential resort with wide-ranging features and amenities.

'Malaysia will not be net importer of natural gas yet'

Tue, 12.Jun.2012 - 1:23am
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will not be a net importer of natural gas so soon as the local consumption is much less than the amount of the country's liquefied natural gas (LNG) export, Gas Malaysia Bhd chairman Datuk Hamzah Bakar said. Furthermore, Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) is aggressively giving out more exploration contracts including marginal fields to ensure more supply from local resources. He noted that Petronas is building LNG import terminals in Sungai Udang in Malacca, Pengerang in Johor and Lahad Datu in Sabah to cope with demand for gas to fire up the domestic economy. "If you look at Malaysia's position, we are exporting LNG. A lot are exported, while for the local consumption, the bulk is in the power." Last week, International Energy Agency executive director Maria van der Hoeven said Malaysia is set to emulate Indonesia in the near term, as more gas is needed at home to help fuel its voracious local population. Meanwhile, Gas Malaysia managing director Datuk Muhammad Noor Hamid expects the company to post good results for the year ending December 31 2012 despite a slight drop in its earnings in the first quarter. Gas Malaysia's earnings fell 53.5 per cent to RM34.54 million in the first three months from RM74.41 million a year ago.